The evacuation of Israeli settlers from the Gaza Strip and North Samaria in August 2005 provides the backdrop for Summer Rains. During the evacuation settlers were uprooted from their homes and witnessed the destruction of their childhood surroundings.
The film brings viewers into the secretive spaces of its heroes – the three highest ranking officers in the Israeli army, including IDF Chief of Staff Lt. General Dan Halutz who resigned following the Second Lebanon War. His resignation raised the question who is this man who led Israel into an adventure which claimed the lives of 126 people and caused the establishment of tens of investigative committees.
In the film we see that the evacuees are not strangers to the evacuators – many are friends, family, people who were brought up on similar values. By addressing the dilemmas that these officers face, torn between an obligation to evacuate the civilians and their personal feelings and sympathies, the film puts the viewer face-to-face with the tension of strenuous decision-making and the ongoing predicament of the dedicated officers who committed themselves to a mission they opposed.
The difficulties within the situation are magnified through the soldiers’ defense that they were “only carrying out orders” – a phrase spoken by Nazi soldiers following the Holocaust. The profound irony of using the phrase is not lost on the soldiers speaking it as they struggle to do what is right.